Mulrooney is a barn cat without a barn to call his own. I'm the resident of a studio apartment. We found each other when he was still cute and needed a home if he was going to live past the weekend. He entered my life with an assessing gaze that was disconcerting when coming from such a small and appealing animal. I responded with as much over-indulgence as I could afford, certain that he would come to understand that it was worth his while to live life on my terms. Instead he's done his level best over the past six months to train me to live as he likes.
Since this involves living a life that becomes aerobically active after the lights are out, with wild leaps upon my body just as I'm most relaxed, Mulrooney spends his nights in a large dog crate. He seems to like it. In the morning, he makes me pay, searching frantically for things to do that he never does when I'm not here. If his activities were anything other than revenge, my wall hangings would all be on the floor, every book would be out of my bookcase, there would be nothing in my medicine cabinet, the linoleum would be carpeted in newspaper confetti and my carpet would be mostly threadbare. But Mulrooney is a guy who likes an audience.
He is, as every cat I have owned in the past twenty years has turned out to be, the world's worst boyfriend.
Somewhere around the time that I stopped caring if my phone rang, I began to construct a cat-dominated household, and the cats have been less than domestic. As far as they're concerned, I exist to feed them, pay them attention when they want it, and applaud their exploits. When in a bad mood, they do their best to make it my problem--sound familiar?
Over the years, I've learned that men and I get along well when we are separate but equal. The cats I have known have learned that we get along well when they do as they like. For those who might say that I've made little progress, I can only respond that Mulrooney, despite his flaws, never discusses football, finances, or politics. A little shredded paper is a small price to pay...and at least I'm a serial monogamist.